The Tigers let Jose Valverde walk this winter — he’s still a free agent — and are considering turning closer duties over to rookie righty Bruce Rondon.
Rondon has logged only eight total innings above the Double-A level and has a troubling 5.1 career BB/9 in the minors. But the Detroit coaching staff loves his fastball velocity and the 22-year-old did pretty well Saturday afternoon in his Grapefruit League debut.
Rondon allowed a double and a walk but struck out two Blue Jays hitters and wound up with a scoreless frame. And there’s this from MLB.com’s Jason Beck:
Word is Rondon hit 100 mph a couple times, 99 consistently, in his first spring outing yesterday.
— Jason Beck (@beckjason) February 24, 2013
Rondon has reportedly hit 103 mph with his fastball several times in the minor leagues. Which doesn’t necessarily mean he’s going to have success at the next level. But it’s certainly something to build around.